painting of the lights.
UFO investigator Tony
James tells us about Nottingham's biggest ever UFO case.
After countless witness reports, Tony and EMUFORA tried to conclude
the case, just what was it?
it an airship?
May 30th 1991, the Daily Star national newspaper printed a story
with a picture of Richard Branson’s ‘Lightship’, a new airship that
has a double skin that allows it to shine like a neon sign in the
My first thought was ‘this is it, case closed’, but we still had
some homework to do. I contacted Richard Branson’s press officer
and explained the UFO situation to him.
of Richard Branson's airships mistaken for a UFO?
He told me that
the ‘Virgin Lightship’ was in America and had been undergoing tests
for the last three weeks. This totally ruled out the Virgin airship.
I was also given
details of another airship company that might be able help. I wrote
to Airship Industries to find out if they had anything in our area
at the time.
was that Airship Industries had called in the receivers on the 10
September 1990, therefore, “we would not have been flying any airships
in May 1991”. I also learned that there was no other airship builders
in the UK.
I also wrote
to the East Midlands Airport for answers and got a right snotty
letter back from the Operations Director.
Airport didn't want any involvement in EMUFORA's case.
It went on,
"I appreciate that UFO’s might be a minority interest to you
and your association, but frankly the airport has neither the time
nor any interest to deal with your enquiry".
It also went on that there would have to be an incident with an
air traffic control officer or a pilot to start an investigation,
and as there was no evidence of this, then ‘we would be wasting
Ministry of Defence
Nick Pope of the MoD and had a long chat with him and his press
officer. We went through the complete checklist and none would satisfactorily
explain the two objects that flew over Nottingham on that night.
However, I was eventually informed, by a reliable source, who claimed
the Mod had tracked its movements from the East of Nottingham to
the West and into Derbyshire, that it played havoc with their (Mod)
airspace and they had no control over them, and aircraft had to
be kept at a safe distance”.
of Defence couldn't explain the two objects.
I can understand
these two unknown objects causing difficulties with air traffic
and having to keep airliners away at a safe distance. I can understand
the cover up of saying, “we do not have full control of our airspace”.
I can also understand why they choose not to come out of the UFO
closet and state that UFO’s are for real. What would the powers
that be have said if an airliner had collided with one of these
huge triangular craft? Another point is, if the Mod knew they were
there, then the East Midlands Airport must have had them on their
radar sets as well. Who diverted the air traffic?
The Operations Director at the East Midlands Airport stated that
they had no evidence. What happened to the radar tapes? What happened
to the pilot and tower control communication tapes? It’s my assumption
that the Operations Director at the East Midlands Airport lied when
he wrote the letter to me.
our investigation, we interviewed over 100 people from all walks
of life. I had a telephone conversation from a Police Officer who
had seen the low flying bright lights and actually radioed in and
stated that he thought an airliner was about to crash near junction
27 of the M1.
motorway in 1991.
also saw strange lights and triangular craft in locations that were
miles away from the plotted flight path. Junction 27 of the M1 is
north of Hucknall and well off these two UFO’s trajectory.
Reports also came in from the south of the city, from West Bridgford
and the Meadows, and several sightings from Beeston. Reports were
also collected form witnesses in Underwood and Melbourne in Derbyshire.
We tracked the flight path of the two main triangular craft. The
two triangular craft appeared to come in from the East and were
first seen over rural Calverton
village and then over rural Woodborough.
The craft them
made their way over to Carlton, flying low over the high-populated
districts of the city, making their way over Arnold,
Bestwood and Bulwell
before heading out over countryside again towards Eastwood and into
watched the two triangular craft disappear into a cloud, on a clear
night over Ilkeston in Derbyshire. I can only surmise that while
two triangular objects were seen on a flight path going East to
West, from Calverton to Bulwell to Ilkeston, some other strange
craft were airborne over the South of Nottingham and over Junction
27 in the North of the city.
How many UFO’s were over Nottinghamshire’s skies that night would
remain a mystery, unless we can view a copy of the radar tapes or
get more information from the Mod
Once we had
completed our interviewing, we had a list of over 100 people with
signed reports. We could not interview everyone, so we sent out
questionnaires to other witnesses, about 15 of these questionnaires
never came back.
We know that there were about twenty people watching this event
from outside a pub in Hucknall and another group of people outside
on Surgays Lane in Arnold. I have a list of phone call witnesses
who watched and reported their sighting by phone, most of them on
the main flight path.
may have flew over Notts and disappeared over Derbyshire.
We checked with
the only two airship manufacturing companies in the country, one
had gone under and had not flown anything at least since the previous
The Virgin Company
was testing their ship in America and had been doing so for about
three weeks. Tollerton airport stated that they knew nothing, they
do not deal with commercial aircraft anyway and as far as I know,
only operate during the day.
The East Midland
Airport Operations Manager either lied or he was totally unaware
of the events during this particular night, either way he should
have been made aware of the event.
to Nick Pope and his Press Officer for some time and going through
the usual check list, I was told much to my surprise, that “Whatever
passed through our airspace, caused havoc with our air traffic and
we had no control over them”.
My conclusion is that two unidentified flying objects flew low over
Nottinghamshire from East to West and disappeared over Derbyshire.
Unless we get more witnesses to come forward on this case, then
this is all we’ll know.
We need to hear from any passengers or aircrew, including Pilots,
air traffic Controllers to give us more information. If the radar
and communication tapes still exist, we would like to hear and view
these. Any help with this case, any additional information would
be greatly received.
If you have
anything to add about this case, or if you want to report any other
UFO stories, contact Tony
James or the team here at BBC